| Paula Radcliffe after breaking her own world mark in 2::15:25 at the London Marathon Sunday. (AFP)
London: Britain’s Paula Radcliffe confirmed her status as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time on Sunday when she broke her own world mark to win the London Marathon in a time of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds.
Radcliffe, known for her courageous front-running tactics, split from the leading group within the first mile and ran well above world mark pace with two male Kenyan pacemakers to break her own world mark by a massive one minute and 53 seconds.
In ideal conditions, the defending champion went through halfway with a 79-second lead and stretched it out to four minutes and 29 seconds at the finish ahead of Kenya’s former world mark holder Catherine Ndereba.
Supported throughout by the crowds thronging the London streets, an exhausted Radcliffe was greeted by her husband and manager Gary Lough as she ran smiling over the finish line.
She told BBC TV: “I once said that London couldn’t be a fast course but I knew from last year it was. “We got a good day. It was a bit windy but it seemed the wind was behind us more than it was in front of us.”
Radcliffe’s time was as remarkable as the margin of victory over such a competitive field which included the 2001 London Marathon winner, Ethiopia’s Derartu Tulu and former Chicago and Boston Marathon winner Ndereba.
The 29-year-old has endured years of frustration on the track, but she is a different athlete on the road. After finishing fourth in both the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2001 World Championships 10,000m to Tulu, she turned to the road.
She claimed two world half marathon titles in 2000 and 2001 before making her marathon debut in London last year where she recorded the second fastest time in history.
But she finally secured her status as a world class distance runner in a mixed race in Chicago where she beat the then world mark holder Ndereba to break the world mark by 89 seconds. Sunday proved to be even better.
Abera wins men’s race
World and Olympic champion Gezahegne Abera of Ethiopia won the men’s race at the London Marathon on Sunday, edging to victory in an exciting five-man sprint finish.
Moroccan-born American Khalid Khannouchi, who won the race in 2002 in a world mark 2:05:38, was missing this year after a severe bout of tonsilitis last month. Abera’s winning unofficial time of 2:07:56 was well outside Khannouchi’s time after a tactical race.